I am an organ recitalist, specializing in early music. As well as my organ performances, writing has always been an important part of my musical activities. I have written many articles on organ topics and early music, as well as a little book ‘The Performance of Early Organ Music’ (recently reprinted). For 20 years, until its demise, I was the principal concert and organ CD reviewer for Early Music Review magazine, alongside freelance writing and reviewing in specialist early music and organ magazines. My reviewing is now on this review website. Although it generally covers early music and organ concerts and CDs, it also allows me to venture into broader musical fields. Since the website first went public, it has received more than 60,000 hits from well over 100 countries. I am avoiding the temptation to include those irritating money-making adverts, pop-ups, or cookies that bedevil so many websites.
I am happy for anybody to quote from my reviews, as long as I am acknowledged. Please feel free to post reviews on social media or otherwise. I welcome comments and suggestions, as well as invitations to review – you can email me at ajbw (AT) hotmail.com. As with my past reviewing for Early Music Review, I want to try to encourage young musicians as much as I can.
As for my organ playing, this is an extract from a recent recital programme note –
Andrew Benson-Wilson specializes in the performance of early organ music, ranging from 14th-century manuscripts to the late Classical period. His playing is informed by experience of historic organs, understanding of period performance techniques and several internationally renowned teachers. The first of his CDs of the complete Tallis organ works (with Chapelle du Roi) was Gramophone Magazine’s Record of the Month. The Organists’ Review commented that his “understanding of the historic English organ and its idiom is thorough, and the beautifully articulated, contoured result here is sufficient reason for hearing this disk. He is a player of authority in this period of keyboard music“.
A reviewer of his 2016 performance of Weckmann’s monumental ‘Es is das Heil‘ at St George’s, Hanover Sq noted that “The performance had a confident and assured touch of someone who understood the musical style. His clarity of counterpoint allied to the programme notes helped the listener to identify the processes and individual lines of the music“.
Another reviewer of another recital of early 17th North German music stated that “Benson-Wilson’s playing was exemplary . . . a fabulous, joyous piece, full of exuberant flourishes, its infectious nature fully conveyed by Benson-Wilson . . . a sure grasp of structure while honouring the work’s more exploratory moments.“
Andrew’s concerts have ranged from the enormous 1642 Festorgel organ in Klosterneuburg Abbey in Austria to a tiny 1668 chamber organ in a medieval castle in Croatia – via St John’s, Smith Square. According to one reviewer, his St John’s, Smith Square recital was “one of the most rewarding organ recitals heard in London in years – an enthralling experience”. More recent concerts include the 1723 Hildebrandt organ in Störmthal, Leipzig (where Bach gave the opening recital) and the famous 1558 Ebert organ in Innsbruck’s Hofkirche.
Some extracts from live recitals can be found on http://soundcloud.com/andrew-benson-wilson.
I will occasionally post information about my own organ concerts, but my UK recitals can also usually be found on organrecitals.com/abw.